Old Settlers' Tales by F.F. Crevecoeur

Frank B. Pinet came from France, where he was born, to Neuchatel in the spring of 1876. He rented some land of Fred Bonjour, sr., that year and bought his Mound creek farm of Noel Lefebvre, and built a small frame house east of the creek, in which he lived a few years. He did considerable work railroading when the Kansas Central was extended to Onaga.

Joseph Lefebvre, his wife, Rosalie, and his children, Felicie (Mrs. Frank Pinet), Jacob D., Rosalie (Mrs. Ernest Frezieres), and Joshua J., are natives of Belgium and came to the United States in 1871. He settled in O'Brien county, Iowa, where he took a homestead, and where he lived until the fall of 1876, when he came to Mill creek with his family, including his son, Eli J., who was born in Iowa. He lived over winter with Noel Lefebvre, his brother, and the next spring moved to the Schumacher (now the Matzke) farm, in Lone Tree township, where he lived several years.

Jacob M. Kelly was a river boatman by profession and plied all the larger streams in the United States. His home was in West Virginia. On one of his trips he came to the eastern border of Kansas in 1860. He made a trip overland to this locality and pre-empted 420 acres on Kelly creek, which was named after him, and then returned to his home. He returned to Kansas in 1870 with his wife, Elizabeth, and two sons, Reuben, and William. He had his son, Thornton, build him a house, now occupied by Mrs. Mary Kelly, before he came back. George and William Young did the stone work upon it.

Reuben Kelly married Valerie Reboul in 1873. They had a daughter, Ida, born to them in 1874, who died when she was about seven years of age. Charles, their son, was born the next year. Reuben and his family lived with his brother, Thornton, for awhile after he was married.

William Kelly married Mary Reboul the same year Reuben was married, and always made his home with his parents. Grandpa and Grandma Kelly passed away several years ago at their home, and William died there, also, a few years ago.

Thornton Kelly, a son of Jacob M., came to Kansas in 1868, and settled on a part of his father's land, building him a house where W.F. Brunkow lives. His wife, Sylvia, came with him. In 1874 he and his wife went to Indiana, where they remained until the following year, when they returned, bringing an adopted son with them by the name of Petto. Joseph Kelly, a cousin of Thornton's, camo [sic] back with them. He was a physician by profession. A few years previous Jacob Kelly found a bone along the creek north of his home, which he thought might be that of a human being, so he carried it home and kept it. When his nephew, Joseph, came out here he submitted the bone to him and it was pronounced an arm bone of a human being sure enough. Joseph stayed here about a year, when he returned to Indiana. Thornton and his wife are now residents of Bates county, Missouir [sic].

Ransom G. Murray and his wife, Elizabeth, a daughter of Jacob Kelly, came to Kansas in 1873. He bought out Henry Sandoz--the place now owned by Charles Keuhl, and lived on it a number of years. He and his wife are now living in Leavenworth.

Henry Hastings, who was a cousin of Jacob Kelly, came to Kansas from West Virginia in 1860, coming by boat from St. Louis to Atchison. He was on his way to California, but being robbed after he left Atchison, he stopped with his brother James, in Jackson county. He enlisted in the army soon after and served two or three years, doing duty along the Mexican border and also in Colorado. After the war he worked around in Jackson county, married Sarah Smith, and came to Kelly creek in the fall of either 1870 or 1871, and settled on the present Paul Jeanneret farm. He lived her a few years, when he sold out to the present owner of the place and returned to West Virginia.

Moses Keeney, a brother of Robert H., came to Kansas with his wife, Lucy, in 1874, and settled where Robert lives at present. He had a son, Eudeka, and a daughter. He remained here until 1877, when he returned to West Virginia with his family. He had been part owner of the present Charles Keuhl farm, having bought it in partnership with Ransom Murray.

Robert H. Keeney, his wife (Julia) and family came to Kansas the first time in 1866. He had traveled by boat from Cincinnati to St. Louis, thence by rail to Topeka. The following named children came with him on this trip: Ned, Elizabeth, George, McDonald, Jacob (who died in West Virginia), and Charles. When he got to Topeka he found it would cost him seven dollars to stay all night, and thirteen dollars to go by hack to Holton. He met a man who had brought in a load of oats, and who offered to haul him and his family to James Hastings', in Jackson county, for eleven dollars. He availed himself of the offer, and stopped in Jackson county about two months, working on the Wyatt ranch during this time. Mr. Wyatt had some tame buffalos, the first Mr. Keeney had seen. His wife was badly scared at the Indians, who were quite numerous about there, and she would not stay any longer, so he returned to West Virginia, having gained some experience as to what life in the wild west consisted of. There was hardly a house that had a bedstead in it. Most of the people slept in bunks made of boxes, and the trusty old navy was always hung within easy reach, and when the settler started out to hunt his horses, he always strapped on his revolver as a precaution against robbers. After Mr. Keeney had returned to West Virginia he was never satisfied with his lot, and made up his mind he would return to Kansas at the first opportunity. His wife died after he went back to his old home, so he returned to Kansas in March, 1876, with his children, Elizabeth (Mrs. Albert Reboul, now deceased), Ned (who is in West Virginia at present), George and McDonald (twins), Amelia (Mrs. F.H. Bonjour), Charles (who died in 1892), Jade, Sallie, Peter (who died in Topeka not long ago), and Lewis (who is serving in the Philippines). He settled on his present farm, where he has since lived.

J.M. Beams came to Kansas from Clearfield county, Pennsylvania, going to Valley Falls with his wife (Mary), and his children, Nettie (Mrs. William Marion), and Lewis. He lived there two years, when he came to Kelly creek, homesteading on the Charles Butte farm, now the property of W.F. Brunkow, in the year 1873. The hard times following the drouth and grasshoppers coming soon after, compelled him to abandon his homestead, and he removed to the Charles Grover farm, on Coal creek, after having lived on his farm two years.

John Ginter came here from Leavenworth in 1856, and settled on land now owned by John Moll. His wife, Barbara, and a son, Fred, came with him. In 1859 he moved with his family to Colorado, and returned in1861. He remained here a couple of years, when he went back to Colorado, where he and his wife died.

Jacob Bink and wife, Barbara, came to Kansas from Indiana in 1857. He pe-empted the farm now owned by John Moll. He came here in company with Mr. Moll, who was his brother-in-law, coming by boat from Jefferson City, Missouri, to Leavenworth, driving through the most of the way oxen. He had two children born here, Anna and Fred. In 1859 he went with John Ginter to Colorado, returning with him in 1861, then went back to Colorado in 1864.

John Moll and his wife, Johanna, came from Germany to the United States in 1851, and settled in Indiana. In 1857 he came to Kansas with his wife and daughter, Mary (Mrs. Philip Schwarz). William, his son, was born here. He settled on the farm now owned by William Honig. In 1865 he beught [sic] out Jacob Bink. Mr. Moll says that in 1860, the year that was so remarkable for its protacted drouth, he raised corn that grew to be as tall as in any other year. In 1859 he had raised a crop of wheat, and the thrashing maching with which it was threshed, like all of those of that time, had no straw stacker, the straw being removed from the machine by a horse pulling a pole to which he was hitched, similar to the hay-sweeps of the present day. As money was out of the question with which to pay for the threshing, one fourth of the crop was taken for toll. In 1858 Mr. Moll cultivated his corn with a single-shovel plow; the next year he got wealthy enough to afford a double-shovel plow. On his way here from Leavenworth he remembers seeing but three horses between Valley Falls and this place. Early in 1859 Mr. Moll had to go to St. Marys after the mail. There was snow on the ground, but the day being warm it was melting rapidly, so that the Vermillion, which he had to cross, was up. The ford was near Charles Myers' (George McVicar's). He thought the stream looked dangerous to cross, so he took a pole with which he tried to sound the water's depth. Mr. Myers happened to come out and told him the water was only leg deep to his horse; so he rode in, but the first thing he knew his horse was swimming for his life. However, both he and his animal escaped. Mr. Myers then gave him a change of dry clothes so he could resume his journey.

Michael F. Hartwick and his wife, Mina, came from Germany in 1856 and stayed a year in Wisconsin. The next year he drove through to this locality with his sons, Fred, Ferdinand F. and Herman F., and settled on the farm now occupied by Ferdinand's widow, Mrs. Pauline Hartwick. Fred married Sophia Nicklas in 1869. His oldest children are Anna (Mrs. Jacob Brunner), Ida (Mrs. Dite Cass), Lena (Mrs. Ferdinand F. Brunkow), and Herman. Fred moved to the farm belonging to his youngest son, Robert, in 1869. In 1872 or 1873 he built the stone house that stands on this place. He is now living near Belvue.

Ferdinand married Miss Pauline Schwandt in the fall of 1876. He died on the old home place in June, 1892.

Herman F. married Hannah Buchholz in the fall of 1876. He moved into the stone house on George Mitz's farm about 1870, and bought the place, his present home, in 1874.

Michael Hartwick built his first house when he located here of unhewn logs. In 1872 or 1873 he built himself a new log house, the logs of which were hewn. He lived in this last house until 1869, when he moved it to northwest of August Kolterman's for the use of renters who worked this farm, which is now owned by Fred's oldest son, Herman. Mr. Hartwick's name illustrates the evolution of a person's cognomen. His name was originally Hartwig. When he applied for naturalization papers the clerk of the court, from the pronunciation of the name, judged it was spelled Hartwick, and wrote it so. The mistake was not discovered by Mr. Hartwick until afterward, and , as he had no expectancy of falling heir to property in Germany, let the name go as it had been written. Michael Hartwick died in December, 1899. His wife, who had been confined to her bed for several years, passed away in August, 1892.

William F. Kolterman and his wife, Anna L., came from Germany in 1856 and settled in Wisconsin. In 1857 he, in company with Michael Hartwick, Fred Brunkow, Chris, Ernest, and Chas. Henneberg, and his brother, Daniel K. Kolterman, came to this locality. Mr. Kolterman, like all the rest of the pioneers, drove through with oxen, and in addition brought some cows with him. He settled on the place now occupied by Mrs. Fred Keuhl, lived there about a year, when he moved to the farm now owned by his son, Ernest. In 1866 he built the stone house that stands on this farm. Of his children, Chris, who died the same year he came here at the age of eight years, Tophia [sic] (Mrs. August Wegner), William, jr., of Laclede, August F., Ernest and Pauline, who were twins, were brought here from Wisconsin. Pauline is now Mrs. Fred Nies, of Colorado. Lizzie (Mrs. Charles Noll, of Nebraska), was born here. Mr. Kolterman died in 1882, and his wife joined him in 1893.

Daniel K. Kolterman, a brother of William F., with his wife Mary, came in company with his brother and settled where William Kolterman lives. His children who came with him were Chris, Bertha (Mrs. Hise), William (Long Bill), and Minnie (Mrs. John Zable). Daniel Kolterman was killed in a runaway accident in 1863, between Circleville and Holton, while hauling barley to the latter place. His widow married John Huffer in 1864, and they lived awhile on Mrs. Huffer's farm, where their son, Herman, was born. They afterward moved out west.

Mr. Kolterman's oldest son, Chris, married Alvina Schultze, November 18, 1866. His children are Charles, Edward, and Robert. Chris was killed on New Year's day, 1873, by having his back broken in attempting to drive into a low shed with a load of wood on which he was riding. Whe he started to enter the shed he lowered his head, expecting to have no trouble in getting in, but the low part of the shed caught him back of the shoulders, doubling him up. He was driving a high-spirited team, which also helped to cause the accident. His widow died in 1877.

Chris. Kolterman, another one of W.F.'s brothers, came to Kansas, from Wisconsin, with his wife, Augustine, and a son, W.F. (Black Bill), in company with Fred Keuhl, in 1858. His wife died on Dec. 29, 1859, and he married a widow, Mrs. Scheel, in 1860. She had a daughter, Augusta, who married Dr. Hixon, who kept a drug store, in Onaga, in the 80's. A son, Albert, was born to Mr. Kolterman, after his marriage to Mrs. Scheel, also a daughter, who died in infancy.

Mr. Kolterman joined the service and died, while on duty, of some epidemic disease, at Santa Fe, Mo., near the Kansas line. His widow afterwards married John Genske.

J. Fred Brunkow and his wife, Minnie, came from Wisconsin, in 1857, and settled on the farm now owned by his son, Robert. His children, born here, are: August, of Wheaton, Lizzie (Mrs. August Buchholz), and Ferdinand E. Mrs. Brunkow died in 1873, and Mr. Brunkow married Sophia Zabel, in 1875. His children from this last marriage, are: Robert, Amelia (Mrs. William Hetzler), and Ema (Mrs. Henry Hetzler). His second wife died in 1879.

Mr. Brunkow built a stone house in 1868. His son, Ferdinand's, earliest recollection of his boyhood days, is that while living in the log house he woke up one morning to see a snake crawling along a log just over his bed, which gave him a very severe scare, which perhaps was the reason he remembered the incident.

George Mitz, who was married in Illinois, came here, with his wife, Lizzie, in 1857, and settled on the place now owned by Herman Hartwick. He came as far as St. Joe by rail, and from there was assisted through by Ernest Henneberg and Jacob Minch. He had four children born here: Kittie, Lizzie, Louisa, and George. In 1874 he sold out to H.F. Hartwick, and went to Colorado.

Daniel Schlabbach, a brother of Mrs. G. Mitz, and John Michael came here, from Wisconsin in the year of 1859, and both lived with Mr. Mitz. Mr. Schlabbach died of consumption in 1860 and Mr. Michael died about a year after.

Frederick Kuehl, his wife, Dorothy, and daughter, Augusta (Mrs. Gottifried Martin, who died in 1880), came here in 1858. In the spring of the same year he came to this locality and settled on the place now occupied by his children, Fred and Minnie, in Lone Tree township. He bought this farm of William Kolterman, and moved into the log house built by Mr. Kolterman. Soon after, he built another log house, the shingles for which he made himself, of walnut and oak, with a drawing knife. His children, born here, are: William, Charles, Minnie, Ferdinand, and Fred.

Michael Tessendorf and his wife, Dora, came from Germany to Wisconsin in 1856. In 1858, he came to Kansas, bringing with him the following children: Mina (Mrs. William Nickals, of Laclede), Louisa [Mrs. John Eichem, of Westmoreland], and Frederick, of Laclede. August, Herman, and Anna [Mrs. William Schane], were born here. He settled first on the Fred Schwartzenberger farm, near Neuchatel, where he lived until 1870, when he moved to where his son, Herman, lives. When he drove through from Wisconsin to this locality, his route from the Valley Falls lay past Holton. When he got so far that he thought he must have reached this place, he inquired where the place was, and was told that he had passed it. On turning around and looking for the town that was shown him, he saw only a long rambling shed, without windows, standing alone on the prairie. This contained a store and the postoffice, but he had no idea that such a dilapidated, ill-shaped building could be what stood for the name of a place. In 1861, Mr. Tessendorf had been to Topeka, and in coming home, he found the Vermillion, at the Wasson crossing was up, but being anxious to get home he drove into the stream, which was so high that the wagon box was lifted off and carried down the stream; and he saved himself by getting on the wagon tongue, and with one hand guided the horses while with the other he held on to the backband of one of the horse's harness.

John Gonske came from Prussia in 1854. From there he moved to Illinois, in 1855, and moved to this locality, in 1859, and took a claim where George Ladner lived. Being a single man, he worked around for the neighbors, until 1861, when he enlisted in Co. B. of the 8th Kansas, and served until 1864. He then sold his claim to Mr. Ladner, and bought out the Herringtons in 1866. This place is now John Zable's, and he lived here a number of years. In 1865 he married Chris Kolterman's widow and had a daughter, Lena, now Mrs. Kreth, born to him. In 1870 he built a stone house on his farm, now occupied by Mr. Zable. His wife died in 1892.

John Schumacher and his wife, Barbara, came to New York city from Germany in 1849. He then moved to Canada, and then to Leavenworth, where he lived six months, after which he came to this locality in 1859. He settled on the Matzke place, in Lone Tree township. He built a log cabin on his farm, covering it with elm bark for a roof, which was held down with stones. Not long after he had located here he happened to be absent from his home one night, leaving his wife and son, George, who was two years old, there alone, when a severe rainstorm came up, unroofing the cabin and exposing its occupants to the mercy of the elements. Mrs. Schumacher took the bed-tick and stood it against the lee wall of the room, and she and her son crawled behind it and so passed the night. Miss Emma Schumacher, whose murder in Kansas City a few years ago is remembered by most of our citizens, was born on the old place. Mrs. Schumacher died in Kansas City in 1892, while the old gentleman passed away but a few months since.

Charles, Chris and Ernest Henneberg came to this locality with their parents in 1858. They came here from Iowa. Charles settled on what is now the Valberg farm; selling out, he bought the farm which is now Alfred Bonjour's, south of where Ephraim Bonjour lives. He died in 1861 of cholera. He narrowly escaped being drowned in the Black Vermillion by trying to cross that stream while it was up. His team was lost and he received a severe chill, from which, according to some accounts, he died. He had a daughter, Emma, now Mrs. Ernest Kolterman.

Chris came here with his wife, Mina, a sister to F. Teske, and his step-daughter, Louisa, now Mrs. William Fischer, of Lone Tree township. He first settled on the place now owned by Charles Ladner. When he sold this farm to Mr. Ladner, he pre-empted and homesteaded a place in Clear Creek township, where his son, Emil is living. His children, born here, are: Otto, Emil, and Emma [Mrs. Herman Brunkow, of Wheton [sic]]. Mr. Henneberg died about 1886. It was with Chris that the parents of the three boys lived.

About the year 1865, in the fall, the old folks celebrated their silver wedding. Fred Zimmerman officiated at the wedding, which was quite a swell affair for those days. Among the guests present were: Lewis Hoover, W.P. Eytchison, and Alfred Cory, of Pleasant Valley. The parents died in 1869. The old gentleman, whose death occurred soon after that of his wife, was fatally hooked by a cow that had a young calf.

Ernest Henneberg, whose wife's name is Susie, settled in Lone Tree township, and had the following children born here: Lena [Mrs. August Ristow], Amelia [Mrs. Otto Boster, of Colorado], and Louisa (Mrs. Falk). His wife died in 1870. He is new a resident of Colorado.

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